Going Astray
Joshua 9:3-27
And when the inhabitants of Gibeon heard what Joshua had done to Jericho and to Ai,…

There is an old but wholesome proverb which speaks of "making more haste than good speed." We find the same truth, otherwise expressed, in Scripture; expressed as a part of the will of God, from whose right of control over man flow all those duties of caution, deliberation, and foresight which are inculcated nowhere so forcibly as in the Bible. We have in this passage a very remarkable illustration of our homely English proverb; and at the same time a very remarkable illustration of forgetfulness of the Divine saying, "Acknowledge God in all thy ways, and He shall direct thy paths." "The men took of their victuals, and asked not counsel of the Lord."


1. They had the teaching of direct precepts that forbid it. They were told that the land which was given them to possess was filled with a wicked people, whose cup was full, and that their "strange work" was their extermination. Thus instructed, they were to make no covenant with any of the inhabitants of the land, but to smite "utterly both man and beast." This precept, or rather reiterated command, they forgot; acting under impulse they forgot what was written, and governed by feeling they overlooked the law.

2. They had the teachings of their own experience that should have suggested caution. Let us not so conduct our selves: let us remember the past only to be wiser for the future; let obedience to law be the rule of our life, lest some stern and inexorable calamity should come and crush us into inevitable submission.

3. All this was perfectly unjustifiable. What ever consequences might have resulted, they could only blame themselves. Precept and precedent were against them, yet blindly and wilfully they defied both.


1. To the Israelites. The moment the mistake was found out the multitude, who had said nothing before, began of course to murmur. So frequently, when men connive at each other's iniquities and mistakes, as soon as one of their number is reduced to trouble his partners in folly will be the first to upbraid him. God may forgive us our sins and our follies; but He will not by miracle interpose to save us from the natural consequences of our violation of the laws by which He manifests the everlasting unchangeableness of His moral government.

2. To the Gibeonites. Lying and cheating always defeat themselves in the long run.

(W. G. Barrett.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: And when the inhabitants of Gibeon heard what Joshua had done unto Jericho and to Ai,

WEB: But when the inhabitants of Gibeon heard what Joshua had done to Jericho and to Ai,

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